Song of the Day Jan 31
January 31, 2024
This month I’m focusing on some great hits from the 60s.
Today our song is: You Really Got Me
Wikipedia tells us this about the song:
"You Really Got Me" is a song by English rock band the Kinks, written by frontman Ray Davies. The song, originally performed in a more blues-orientated style, was inspired by artists such as Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy. Two song versions were recorded, with the second performance used for the final single. Although it was rumoured that future Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page had performed the song's guitar solo, this been debunked.
"You Really Got Me" was written by Ray Davies, the Kinks' vocalist and main songwriter, sometime between 9 and 12 March 1964. Created on the piano in the front room of the Davies' home, the song was stylistically very different from the finished product, being much lighter and somewhat jazz-oriented. Ray said of the song's writing, "When I came up with ['You Really Got Me'] I hadn't been writing songs very long at all. It was one of the first five I ever came up with."
Davies said that he had been inspired to write the song one night during his college days playing with the Dave Hunt Band, when he saw an attractive girl on the dance floor. He said: "When we finished, I went off to find her, but she was gone and never returned to the club. She really got me going."
During the spring of 1964, Ray Davies played an early version of "You Really Got Me" on the piano to rock photographer Allan Ballard during a photo shoot. Ballard later remembered, "It was quite a small, pokey, Victorian Terrace, a bit scruffy, and in the hallway they had an upright piano. Ray sat down and plonked out, 'Der-der, der, Der-der!' He said, 'What do you reckon to this?' It meant nothing to me at the time, but it ended up as 'You Really Got Me'."
Ray, initially planning for the song to be a "more laid-back number", later played the chords of the song to brother Dave Davies, the Kinks' lead guitarist. However, upon hearing the track, Dave decided that the riff would be much more powerful on a guitar. Ray said of the track's change to a guitar-centred track, "I wanted it to be a jazz-type tune, because that's what I liked at the time. It's written originally around a sax line ... Dave ended up playing the sax line in fuzz guitar and it took the song a step further." The band began performing the new track in some of their live shows, where it was well received.
In 1998, Ray said, "I'd written 'You Really Got Me' as tribute to all those great blues people I love: Lead Belly and Big Bill Broonzy." Dave cited Gerry Mulligan as an inspiration, saying, "Ray was a great fan of Gerry Mulligan, who was in [the Jazz on a Summer's Day movie], and as he sat at the piano at home, he sort of messed around in a vein similar to Mulligan and came up with this figure based on a 12-bar blues". Dave has also said that song had been inspired by Jimmy Giuffre's song "The Train and the River". According to the band's manager, Larry Page, the song's characteristic riff came about while working out the chords of the Kingsmen's "Louie Louie". Lyrically, the song was said to be influenced by an encounter with one of the band's "first serious female fans".
Recap of this month's songs: